Marketing Energy


I'm completely exhausted today.


I've always been fascinated with the energy drink trend.

9 years ago, energy drinks came into popularity and a huge new market opened up. Since then there have been dozens of popular energy drinks ranging from Red Bull to Monster. There has also been the backlash and general wave of knowledge that energy drinks are not healthy---usually containing tons of caffeine and sugar and often twice the size of a soda. But that didn't stop you from drinking 4 Monsters to stay awake while you wrote that paper, now did it?

Admittedly, I hate Redbull and could never drink anything with as much sugar as a Monster without throwing up. But most of my friends know I've always been borderline addicted to XS Energy drinks, and I've gotten teased about it more than once. But with no sugar, tons of B12, ginseng and other vitamins and hardly any or no caffeine...they can't be that bad for you, right? I'm not going to claim they're ultra healthy because they're still carbonated and not "alive" like juice...but they've always made me feel great. They're the same concept as 5 hour are more alert but not jittery. But I hate the way 5 hour energy tastes. XS has 15 flavors, most of which are carbonated (but some teas that are not) so it's literally the only energy drink that's relatively healthy and taste good, in my opinion.

At this point I'm probably at risk of sounding like an ad for XS but today I read that XS is the only approved energy drink for the NCAA and felt a twinge of pride. I knew it! Vindication!

If you've never heard of them, well you're not alone. A major food and beverage magazine recently put out an article called "The fastest growing brand you've never heard of" about XS. A quick trip to Wikipedia will show you that in their first year of sales they made $51 million, second year over $72 million, third year over $90 million and the forth year over $120 million. By this point (2006) they were offiically the fastest growing brand and the #2 selling energy drink in America behind Redbull.

So how is it that you've never heard of XS? Because they're not sold in stores, and they're not advertised. Amway Global is the exclusive distributor. Amway is a very polarizing company. You either love them and think they can do no wrong, or you hate them and think they're absolutely evil. So naturally I fall somewhere in the middle because I don't like being forced into extremes. Regardless of how you or I feel about the company, I'm a big fan of the XS products.

Another energy drink that I think is pretty healthy is Vemma. This is yet another company that self-distributes but has a good product.

I think I am a little annoyed that the only energy drinks I like aren't sold in stores and have to be ordered by the case. This makes finding a resource to solve my mid afternoon crash on the fly, very difficult. But I also find the whole phenomenon incredibly interesting. I'm curious to see when the energy drink phase will die out or which brands will survive.

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